Residents hope to bring dog run to East River State Park

At least part of East River State Park should literally go to the dogs, hopes some Williamsburg residents.

According to Jackie Meyer of community advocacy group Friends of East River State Park, the park “is underfunded [and] a dog run was just one of the things that has been discussed. There seems to be a really great need for it in this area, which is overrun by dogs” that have nowhere to play.

The doggy dream could become a reality if the dog run plan is approved this week during the latest round of voting in Councilmember Stephen Levin‘s participatory budgeting process.

Levin has $1 million in Council funds to allocate for projects throughout his district (FYI: it’s the 33rd Council District). Residents have nominated 16 potential projects for funding, ranging from park and tree beautification ($120,000, $100,000) and improved security at Taylor Wythe ($200,000) to P.S. 34 playground repairs ($120,000) and P.S. 31 school technology additions ($188,000).

Voting begins today, April 1, and lasts through the week at various locations.

A state-of-the-art dog run in East River State Park would cost an estimated $450,000. The plan is for a fenced-in, 6,000-square-foot space in the park’s northeast corner, complete with a double-gated entry on Kent Avenue, separate areas for small and large dogs, dog-specific artificial turf, seating with shade trees, and a supply of drinking water for the dogs.

According to Meyer, “state park [officials] told us recently that if we could raise the money, we could actually put it in there. So we’re really trying hard to make this capital improvement to the park.”

“It’s a seven-acre park and we could use part of it. The park itself has a no-dog policy,” which is why this would be a separate, fenced-in area, she explained. “It’s the kind of dog park that’s not smelly. There are filtration systems. . . we’ll be doing it professionally so that it doesn’t turn it into a negative. It would be a positive, clean space for the community.”

Thus far, said Meyer, the dog run proposal has gotten support from Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and other neighborhood groups, such as the Friends of Northside Waterfront.

Volunteers are spreading the word about the voting period, as well, and some have even sent in checks, “but you never know what kind of turnout you’re going to get.”

Voting continues through Sunday, April 7. Any questions should be sent to [email protected] or asked via phone at 718-875-5200.


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